Easton supports research in technology, entrepreneurship and leadership through research grants for faculty and Ph.D. students

Past Faculty Grant Recipients


Professor Charles Corbett and Felipe Caro

Social and environmental aspects of firms’ global supply chains are increasingly being recognized as key considerations to take into account when making business decisions. Some measures are relatively well-defined by now, such as carbon footprinting. Social considerations are more recently gaining increasing attention, in particular in the technology supply chain. Firms in the technology sector are constantly making decisions that have economic, environmental and social dimensions, and hence they are, explicitly or implicitly, trading off fundamentally different economic, environmental and social measures. The purpose of this project is to interview key stakeholders within technology firms, to better understand how they do this.

Professor Charles Corbett and Guillaume Roels

This research project aims at developing a protocol for conducting Operations Audits of technology startups. Whether they are engaged in (outsourced) manufacturing, software (app) development or delivering software-as-a-service, or otherwise, all startups do have a variety of operational processes in place. The purpose of an operations audit protocol would be, for instance, for a potential investor to be able to determine the operational strengths and weaknesses of a startup within a few hours, by following a structured approach.


Professor Magali Delmas

We propose to study incentives for technology adoption in the commercial buildings sector. This study will evaluate the performance outcomes related to the adoption of energy efficient technologies, such as reduced energy consumption and investor performance, in terms of rent price premiums, occupancy rates and energy savings. Using a unique dataset constituting of 178,777 buildings in the City of Los Angeles, this research will also evaluate how different financing models can alleviate split incentives problems, a well-known barrier to the adoption of energy efficient technologies.

Professor Marvin Lieberman

The topic of disruptive innovation has received enormous attention in recent years. Although Clayton Christensen's ideas have been highly influential, they have increasingly been subject to critiques, and it seems clear that disruptive innovation is unlikely to be a single phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to develop a categorization and assessment of various types of disruption, including "low end" entry by initially inferior products (emphasized by Christensen), "high-end" entry, business model disruption, and platform envelopment.

Professor Reza Ahmadi

We propose that sellers can influence buyer behavior through the structure of Contract |i.e., a fixed- or renegotiable-price contract - and we support this by empirical analysis. Using a two-period, game-theoretic model, we find that (1) contract structure can affect the pace of adoption in different ways, and (2) the optimal contract choice depends on the strength of externality, the strength of seller competition, buyer bargaining power, and the size of buyer group.

Professor Nico Voigtlander

The project examines the role of cities for international trade and firm productivity. It provides a model with agglomeration effects that drive the sorting of firms into cities of different sizes, depending on firm productivity draws. The model makes predictions about the joint determination of the location of economic activity (economic geography) and the patterns of trade flows. In particular, larger cities have a disproportionate importance for country-level exports. Empirically, we use a large panel covering more than 200,000 Chinese manufacturing firms to test the predictions of the theory.

easton grants

Professor John Ullmen

Leaders in technology-based organizations often rise to a point in the management ranks on the strength of their technical acumen, but fall short when it comes to the ability to inspire confidence, collaboration and commitment in others. As a result, senior leadership positions often go to people who lack technical acumen, which can limit career growth for people with technical backgrounds, and present challenges to their organizations. This research project focuses on how technical leaders can develop executive presence more quickly and successfully. In this first phase of the research, we conduct in-depth interviews and administer both quantitative and qualitative assessments with relevant stakeholders with a population of technical leaders in a prominent global technology organization, analyze the data, and present the findings.

Grants for Faculty Research

2014 - 2015 Faculty Grant Recipients

Professor Mariko Sakakibara

Professor Mariko Sakakibara studies the interaction between industry dynamics and firms’ strategic technology choices. Her findings inform managers how firms’ technological choices affect their innovative performance.

Professor Marvin Lieberman

Professor Marvin Lieberman will perform an audit of all UCLA courses related to biopharmaceutical technology and medical devices, and compile a listing of firms in the Los Angeles area that are involved with these technologies. His survey promises to enhance the case selection, written assignments and other materials for his 298D course, Entrepreneurial Perspectives on Biotechnology.

Professor Reza Ahmadi

In his research on fixed price and bargaining, Professor Reza Ahmadi will examine why different price mechanisms are used in B2B settings. His findings should improve our understanding of when to allow for more or fewer price negotiations during the product lifecycle, and the effects on both the seller’s and the supply chain’s total profits.

Professor Uday Karmarkar

Professor Uday Karmarkar’s research project will address how the technology-driven industrialization of the U.S. economy has affected jobs. He plans to examine the question through such mechanisms as automation, remote provision (including outsourcing and off-shoring), operations shifting (to different resources) and self-service.

2013 - 2014 Faculty Grant Recipients

Professor Reza Ahmadi

In his research on posted pricing and strategic bargaining, Professor Reza Ahmadi examines the practice of discounting prices in a B2B setting. Because existing theories fail to predict the actually observed discounts, Ahmadi has developed a B2B price-bargaining model that captures the existence of a salvage market and which predictions are more consistent with the observed pricing behavior. Ahmadi’s model can be used to improve pricing decisions in a B2B setting.

Professor Christiane Barz

In her research on hospital operations, Professor Christiane Barz, together with Ines Arnolds and Daniel Gartner, estimates the clinical pathway for each patient and the associated resource requirement. Barz and her co-authors’ model can be used to improve the scheduling of patient admission by accounting for their resource requirements.

Professor Nico Voigtlander

In his research on the rise of generalpurpose technologies, Professor Nico Voigtlander, together with Vasco Carvalho from Cambridge University, examines how producers adopt new inputs to their technological process. In their research, they modeled the evolution of input linkages as a process, where new producers first search for potentially useful inputs and then decide which ones to adopt. One of the working papers on this project was presented at the National Bureau of Economic Research Summer Institute in July 2014.

2016 Ph.D. Grant Recipients


Prashant Chintapalli

In his summer project Prashant Chintapalli, mentored by Professor Kumar Rajaram, researched supplier compliance issues in supply chains and the measures that buyers can adopt to ensure such a compliance. They examined the efficiency of three audit mechanisms and assesses their efficiency in terms of buyer audit efforts, supplier compliance, buyer profits, supplier profits, and the supply chain profits.

Christian Blanco

In his summer project Christian Blanco, mentored by Professors Charles Corbett and Felipe Caro, investigated the state of voluntary supply chain carbon emissions reporting to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), which holds the largest repository of firm-reported, climate-change-related data. They found that, even though firms are beginning to capture an increasing portion of their supply chain carbon emissions, opportunities still remain to measure and disclose supply chain carbon emissions.

Araz Khodabakhshian

In her summer project Araz Khodabakhshian, mentored by Professors Uday Karmarkar and Guillaume Roels, studied the optimal bundling and pricing decisions of two firms offering information-intensive goods in a Bertrand duopoly. They showed that when customer valuations of individual components are perfectly negatively correlated and customers have substantially higher preference for one component, in equilibrium, only one firm bundles.

Ali Fattahi

In his summer project Ali Fattahi, mentored by Professor Reza Ahmadi, aimed to develop an effective methodology that maps the forecast penetration rates of options to parts and obtains a forecast range for the utilization of parts (in auto manufacturing). This problem is very difficult due to the existence of condition codes.

Taylor Corcoran

In her summer project Taylor Corcoran, mentored by Professors Fernanda Bravo and Elisa Long, developed a framework to analyze the drug approval process. They modeled the approval process using a continuous time dynamic programming approach and identified how the optimal significance level depends on various aspects of the drug pipeline.

Grants for PhD Students

2015 PhD Grant Recipients

2015 Ph.D. Grant recipients include Christian Blanco, Hossein Jahandideh, Sandeep Rath, Thomas Vangelis, and Vishal Vishe.

Christian Blanco

In his summer project Christian Blanco, mentored by Professors Charles Corbett and Felipe Caro, investigated the adoption of carbon reduction opportunities. They investigated if firms are investing more or less profitable carbon reduction opportunities over time, and if the paybacks of projects implemented are getting worse over time. They also investigated if marginal carbon abatement costs are getting worse over time.

Hossein Jahandideh

In his summer project Hossein Jahandideh, mentored by Professors Kumar Rajaram and Kevin McCardle, researched a production company in Germany where machines required expensive catalysts to excite the production process. Employing a farsighted strategy for machine operations, they found there is potential to exploit the productivity of these catalyst and optimize the efficiency of the process. They also designed dynamic strategies to switch between producing different products, such as to minimize the total production costs while satisfying the demand for all products.

Sandeep Rath

In his summer project Sandeep Rath, mentored by Professor Kumar Rajaram, developed a mathematical model to better manage and design the technologies used by operating room services departments at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. They were able to validate the mode and test a decision tool based on the mathematical model.

Thomas Vangelis

In his summer project Thomas Vangelis, mentored by Professor Rakesh Sarin, focused in the field of intertemporal choices and primarily on the idea behind a satiation preferences model. They developed and extended the theory part more and gathered data from sports like cycling to further validate the model. They also looked to extend it to the case of mental fatigue and other examples besides sports activities.

Vishal Vishe

In his summer project Vishal Vishe, mentored by Professor Elisa Long, analyzed delays in getting timely medical care by modeling a hospital as a queuing network and capturing the delays using clearing functions. The model was flexible in that it could easily account for time-varying arrival rates and service costs. Such a model can be used to analyze ways to reduce the cost of overhead of hospitals while improving upon the overall service quality.

2014 PhD Grant Recipients

2014 Ph.D. Grant recipients include Christian Blanco, Boyoun Choi, Sandeep Rath, Paul Rebeiz, and Wei Zhang.

Christian Blanco

In his summer project Christian Blanco, mentored by Professors Charles Corbett and Felipe Caro, investigated the state of voluntary supply chain carbon emissions reporting to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), which holds the largest repository of firm-reported, climate-change-related data. They found that, even though firms are beginning to capture an increasing portion of their supply chain carbon emissions, opportunities still remain to measure and disclose supply chain carbon emissions.

Boyoun Choi

In her summer project Boyoun Choi, mentored by Professor Uday Karmarkar, studied the impact of competition on price and release of information content. She also researched capacity planning for information chains using deterministic models.

Sandeep Rath

In his summer research project, Sandeep Rath, mentored by Professor Kumar Rajaram, developed a mathematical model to better manage the resources used by operating room services. This work is being conducted in close collaboration with the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, a large multispecialty hospital that is rated among the top hospitals in the United States.

Paul Rebeiz

In his summer research project, Paul Rebeiz, mentored by Professor Reza Ahmadi, modeled several demandresponse programs used by electric utility companies to devise the best strategies for dispatching these programs based on an electric load demand forecast.

Wei Zhang

In his summer research project, Wei Zhang, mentored by Professor Reza Ahmadi, investigated the effect of contract structure on the speed of technology adoption, using a data set from the semiconductor industry. Their findings led them to develop an analytical model to characterize the optimal contract structure for the seller of new technology.

Case Studies


Under the guidance of Professor Marvin Lieberman, Easton supported two case studies conducted on Martine Rothblatt (’81). Martine revolutionized an industry when she sought a cure for her daughter’s life-threatening illness.

UCLA Anderson

Martine Rothblatt

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